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2015 NFL Player Rankings: Running Backs

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson

Just like last year, Athlon Sports' 2015 NFL Preview magazine includes NFL player rankings at every position. The rankings in the magazine are provided by Dan Shonka of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services, a company that's been in the football talent evaluation business for more than three decades.

Related: 2015 NFL Player Rankings - Quarterbacks

While the value of a running back, in terms of salary cap allocation and draft status, may be diminishing, the importance of a strong ground game remains the same. Take Adrian Peterson for example. Even though the 30-year-old back missed practically all of last season, he's still considered the best at his position. Much of that probably stems from the fact that's he's just three seasons removed from rushing for 2,097 yards. The other interesting trend with this year's top 10 list is that three of the members changed teams during the offseason, including DeMarco Murray, the 2014 NFL rushing champion.

And not to be outdone, Ourlads also shows some love to the fullbacks, the unsung heroes in the backfield, whose contributions don't always show up on the stat sheet. 

Rankings courtesy of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services

Positional Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE |OL

2015 NFL Player Rankings: Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota

Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list and then suspended indefinitely last November after his much publicized off-the-field issues. He’s back now and is still under contract with the Vikings. Peterson is poised for a big 2015 season.

2. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle

Banged out 1,306 yards, fifth best in the league, and earned a new contract after leading the Seahawks to their second consecutive Super Bowl. The extra-effort runner cuts without the loss of speed.

3. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

The second-year pro slashed his way to 1,361 yards and eight TDs on the ground in 2014. In addition, he had no fumbles in 373 total touches. Bell likely will sit out the first three games this fall due to a marijuana arrest.

4. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia

Led the NFL in rushing with 1,845 yards, averaging 115.3 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry for Dallas. A good fit for the Eagles’ offense with his quick reactions, vision and the ability to split a crease with good body lean.

5. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo

Was traded to Buffalo after jitterbugging his way to 1,319 yards for the Eagles in 2014. The Bills are gambling that McCoy will return to his days of being a north/south runner.

6. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

Passed former Chiefs great Priest Holmes as the all-time leading rusher in team history despite battling injuries in 2014. He rushed for 1,033 yards, the fifth time he collected more than a 1,000 yards in a season. 

7. Arian Foster, Houston 

Since 2010, he has rushed for 6,052 yards and 50 touchdowns. In the same time frame, he has caught 219 passes for 1,948 yards and 12 TDs. Foster is a downhill power runner with good vision and cutback ability.

8. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

He followed his successful rookie season with a 1,139-yard rushing effort in 2014. The former Alabama star improved his route running and snatched 42 passes for 427 yards, averaging 10.2 yards per reception. 

9. Matt Forte, Chicago

Forte broke Larry Centers’ record for receptions by a running back by catching 102 passes in 2014. He also rushed for 1,038 yards, the fifth time in seven years he joined the 1,000-yard club. 

10. Frank Gore, Indianapolis

Signed as an unrestricted free agent by Indianapolis, leaving the 49ers as their all-time leading rusher with 11,073 yards. The ageless warrior brings a dedication and work ethic to a team seeking to upgrade its running attack.

11. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati    

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12. Justin Forsett, Baltimore    

13. Mark Ingram, New Orleans    

14. Lamar Miller, Miami    

15. Joique Bell, Detroit    

16. Alfred Morris, Washington    

17. Chris Ivory, N.Y. Jets    

18. Tre Mason, St. Louis    

19. Fred Jackson, Buffalo

20. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia    

21. C.J. Anderson, Denver    

22. Jacquizz Rodgers, Chicago    

23. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati

24. Rashad Jennings, N.Y. Giants

25. Andre Williams, N.Y. Giants    

26. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina    

27. Steven Jackson, Free Agent

28. Pierre Thomas, Free Agent

29. Branden Oliver, San Diego     

30. Ahmad Bradshaw, Free Agent 

2015 NFL Player Rankings: Fullbacks

1. John Kuhn, Green Bay 

The pride of Shippensburg University was an All-Pro selection in 2014. The old-school battering ram relishes contact and special teams play.

2. Marcel Reece, Oakland

Brings a complete tool box of block, run and catch to the table. As a pass receiver with rare speed to run away from defenders, he is an explosive check-down option for Derek Carr.

3. Anthony Sherman, Kansas City 

A productive role player in the Chiefs’ West Coast offense as a blocker first and occasional receiver. In addition, he is one of the league’s top special teams players. 

4. Bruce Miller, San Francisco

Is the most versatile member of the 49ers as a lead blocker, sometime receiver and whirling dervish special teams player. He makes an impact drawing blocks when he doesn’t make the tackle himself.

5. Henry Hynoski, N.Y. Giants 

An H-back-type who blocks well on the run. Good size to run over inside linebackers or kick out penetration. Contributes on all special teams.